Ivo Skoric on Thu, 14 Nov 2002 17:00:02 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] The Sky is Falling

"Dana stared at it, puzzled. It read: Vodja, pizda, zbosti, fukati, 
nezakonski otrok, umreti, tepec. She looked up. 'I don't 
understand. These are Serbian words, aren't they?'
Mrs Kostoff said tightly, 'Indeed they are. It's Kemal's misfortune 
that I happened to be Serbian. These are words that Kemal has 
been using in school.' Her face was flushed. 'Serbian truck drivers 
don't talk like that, Miss Evans, and I won't have such language 
coming from the mouth of this young boy. Kemal called me a 

This is a paragraph from page 11 of a 2000 mistery novel by Sidney 
Sheldon (The Sky is Falling). Dana Evans, the lead character, is a 
beautiful young anchorwoman with a Washington TV network, that 
gets herself in a serious (nuclear) trouble investigating 'accidents' in 
which five members of a disgustingly rich American family are 
killed in a year. Kemal is a 12 year old from Sarajevo who lost his 
right arm in a bomb blast, adopted by Dana.

And he rightfully called the assistant principal of the school he is 
enrolled at, Vera Kostoff, a pizda. I bet he wasn't liking being 
compared to Serbian truck drivers, given that he lost his right arm 
to a Serbian mortar. Miss Evans, being the adoptive mother of 
Kemal, should also know better than to call Kemal's language 
Serbian. They call it "Bosnian" in Sarajevo, now. And before the 
war, they called it Serbo-Croatian officially, not Serbian.

More puzzling, however, is the Serbian assistant principal's 
allegation that the words Kemal spoke were actually Serbian. Does 
Vera understand Serbian? Does she want to manipulate Dana in 
this paragraph into believing something that is not true? Is this a 
part of the plot?

Because, those words are simply not Serbian. 

They are not Croatian or Bosnian either. They are Slovenian. Which 
is indeed a different language altogether! Is Kemal Slovenian, 
perhaps? Or did he grow up in Slovenia, where his parents moved 
from Bosnia in search for work, possibly, so he now speaks 
Slovenian, instead of Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian? Or, maybe, 
Sidney Sheldon needs to hire better research assistants? That 
remains an unsolved mistery of that novel, that is going to keep us 
in perpetual suspense.

I guess not many Bosnians read 'The Most Translated Author' (this 
is how Sidney Sheldon is included in the Guiness Book of 
Records). But I found one that does. She gulps Sheldon's books by 
the pound (and in their English original). So, I guess, since he is 
getting a fan base there, he should start paying attention.


Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701

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